Williams clan at next level with Funny Cars
A top fuel drag racing syndicate owned by a Bermudian is thriving on the California Independent Funny Car Association circuit.
Rough-N-Ready Racing, owned by Harvey Williams Jr, a great-nephew of road running legend Stanley Burgess, has won nine titles in the past three years, including the CIFCA championship twice.
The team is based in Sacramento and competes in a 1986 Chevrolet Corvette alcohol funny car, which was handed down to Williams.
Driver Tony Trimp, manager Amy Bowen, crew Ryan Duchaine, Jonathan Duchaine, Virgil Trujillo, Roland Verceles and Chad Chinen and team support and Williams’s sister, Jacqueline Williams, make up the rest of the team, whose mission statement is “to become known as a family-oriented competitive race team focusing on educating the next generation of racers”.
Williams’s team enjoyed more success this past season in which they won the Funny Car Fever event for the fourth consecutive year and fell just shy of a third CIFCA championship after losing in the final against points leader Jr Vibes at the season-ending Governor’s Cup held on their home track at Sacramento Raceway last month.
“Sadly we did not win our third championship this year,” Jacqueline Williams told The Royal Gazette. “However, we did go to the finals with our competitor [Jr Vibes owner and driver Jim Maher] who was two points ahead of us in the CIFCA points series [going into the season finale].”
Williams’s car, which races under the name “Happy Hour”, is powered by a 598 Big Block Chevy with powerglide transmission.
To date the team has a best elapsed time of 6.97 and fastest time of 196mph.
As the son of a motor mechanic and former power boat racer, Williams was perhaps destined to also become involved in motorsport.
“My father, Harvey E. Williams Sr, grew up sailing in Bermuda and was introduced to powerboat racing at a young age,” Jacqueline said.
“Due to major injuries from powerboat racing, he decided it was time to stop and take on another love, which was automotive.
“Once my brother was born, he was intrigued to learn everything there is about boating and automotive.
“When Harvey Jr moved to California, he bought a 1969 Cougar from the local junkyard. Our father was still living in Bermuda at the time and Harvey Jr called to ask his father if he could assist him on how to make his car go faster.
“After years of living in California, Harvey Jr was introduced to the drag strip where he started to race his 1969 Cougar. He moved from San Jose to Sacramento in 2001 and Sacramento Raceway became his home.”
Williams learnt his craft working for a racing syndicate before turning professional and owning his very own dragster and racing team.
“Harvey Jr had been on a Funny Car team named Cloud 9 Racing,” his sister added.
“From working and learning from a friend who owned a funny car to going professional and working with some of the NHRA pros, Harvey Jr had been handed down an old Top Fuel Funny Car.
“The previous owner only wanted Harvey Jr to keep the name Rough-N-Ready. We then joined the California Independent Funny Car Association.”
Originated in 1984, the CIFCA is a West Coast drag racing association that specialises in affordable funny car shows.
Its membership boasts more than 36 teams, the majority of which compete in funny cars powered by super-charged, alcohol engines, which usually last a complete season between teardowns.
Approximately 1,200 horsepower is necessary for a 2,000lb funny car to able to run mid seven-second elapsed times in the quarter-mile.
Members compete for points, cash and contingencies and take great pride in their operations.
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